June 8 is the annual World Ocean Day created in 1992 at the UN Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, and was officially confirmed by the United Nations in 2009. Organizations and individuals from around the world come together on this day to celebrate the oceans, reflect on their importance in our lives, and take time to do something good for our blue planet.
This year, the World Oceans Day focuses on
"Planet Ocean: Tides are Changing"
On this Day of the Oceans, let us -
- Change the way we look at oceans -what the sea means to us, and what it can give.
- Use the opportunity to learn more about the oceans - many of us do not realize the profusion of diverse and beautiful creatures and habitats that are found in oceans, and how our actions affect them.
- Do something positive for the oceans - by finding ways we can alter our daily lives to conserve the oceans and reduce the our impacts on its fragile ecosystems
Today marine matters are splashed across global screens. Rightly so: the seas cover about 70% of the planet and produce more than half its oxygen. About 90% of world trade is seaborne.
Plastic pollution is a major issue for oceans - one estimate is of 5.25 trillion particles, weighing nearly 270,000 tonnes. Many species suffer from it—corals especially, from ingesting microplastics (fragments less than 5mm across). And these creatures are in trouble anyway from bleaching..
Unusually warm ocean temperatures in recent months thanks to El Niño, a climate phenomenon in the tropical Pacific, have caused bleaching: corals expel the colourful single-celled algae they need for photosynthesis and then struggle to make the energy they need to form their skeletons. This may mean humans go hungry: more than a billion people depend upon reef species as a source of food and income.
362,000,000 km2 or 71% of the surface of the globe is water. The oceans contain 1,300,000,000 km3 (328,000,000 miles3) of water. There are 300 to 500 million species of organisms in the ocean, yet these vast resources are largely unexplored.
The Ocean's biological wealth is concentrated along a relatively narrow strip formed by continental shelves, coastal margins and estuaries. These contain the major fishing grounds, yielding more than 80% of the world's fishing catch.
- Other evironment-themed international days and observaces:
GDRC has been working on themes related to this international day/observance, in its programme on Oceans, Coasts and Small Islands.
As a member of both the World Ocean Network and the Ocean Project, GDRC reaffirms its committment to uphold the objectives of the World Oceans Day, and work towards better understanding of, and action on, conserving and protecting the continuum of coasts, small islands and oceans in general.